Reading Journal Entry: Reading Lolita in Tehran, by Azar Nafisi

I can see why this one has become a best-seller. It's THE book for book lovers, and perfect for book groups. Azar Nafisi is a professor of English literature in Iran, educated in the US. The book is her memoir of her years in Iran after the revolution. As the culture became more oppressive, she built a refuge for herself and several other young women by holding a weekly literature class in her home. Lolita is the first work addressed, and now I must read Lolita... and Daisy Miller.

There are some wonderful insights in the first half; attention-grabbing, in-drawn breath moments of perception. As the book goes on, and Nafisi prepares to leave Iran, the text seems also less connected and connecting. She drifts away from her students as she separates herself from her native country, and the result is a gradual decline in quality in the second half of the book. But, oh, what a beginning and middle.

2 comments:

Sunrunner4 said...

I'll be interested to hear your take on Lolita - I've just finished it, and though I can see the craft and appreciate the literary references stocked in the book - I hated hated hated it. I'm glad I read it and will never touch it again. I hate every character and have no desire to visit their world ever again.

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